Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Recorder Group Jobs

My older students (4th and 5th) have been training to become Recorder Senseis and Recorder Doctors.

The duties of the Recorder Sensei are:
1. Play musical patterns or exercise for classmates to copy.
2. Demonstrate tasks on the recorder.
3. Lead the class or group in learning recorder music.
4. Keep the group or class on task.
5. Let the teacher know when the group is ready to perform or when the group has a problem.

To "train" for becoming the Recorder Sensei, students have been:
1. Playing examples for the class - both rehearsed and sight-reading.
2. Leading the class in rhythm repeats (the Sensei comes up with a 4-beat rhythm and the class copies) 

When students split up into individual practice groups, these students will be "in charge".

The duties of the Recorder Doctor are simple - basically, they "diagnose" any problems and "fix" the mistake
1. The Recorder Doctor must “diagnose” any recorder problems their class or group is having.
2. If you can’t diagnose the problem, find the teacher. (Sometimes I have to intervene)
 The doctor also has a list of common recorder problems:

·       Too much air
·       Too little air
·       Not using tongue
·       Incorrect hand placement (LEFT HAND ON TOP)
·       Incorrect finger placement (air is escaping, wrong holes are covered)
              Not reading the music correctly 

Students have been training for Recorder Doctor by:
1. Listening to the teacher model and explain correct recorder playing (first few weeks)
2. Diagnosing problems that the teacher creates on purpose
3. Listening to classmates play and diagnosing any problems they have (this is essential - take the time to let your students perform soloistically - and insist on undivided attention from the listeners - both can learn from this activity - plus this training limits students from bothering you - they already know what's wrong and how to fix it)  
To make the jobs more "special", I created name-tags for the students to wear.  New students are selected each class.

You can download the name-tags here:  Recorder Group Jobs

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Recorder Fingering Game - Icecream Cones

I just created this download and haven't tried it out yet - but I'm really excited to share it.  My advanced recorder players will enjoy this game in a few weeks (although you could leave out the harder pitches and tailor the game for beginners).

You can download it here for free: Recorder Icecream Game

The students will match the vanilla icecreams (pitches on staff)
To the chocolate icecreams (pitch names)
And finally to the recorder fingerings on the icecream cone!  Yum!
Can't wait to print i

Hey, Hey Look at Me

This song is a great one for adding movement and orff instruments (and then having both going at the same time).  It reviews the pitches So and Mi and the rhythms quarter note and eighth note pair.  You can download the lesson here: Hey, Hey Look at Me Lesson

I created a Power Point with the instructions, slides for teaching the song, a slide for adding movement, a slide for adding orff instruments, and of course, a slide of printables.  Here's some examples:

Steady beat and musical structures slide

Rhythm Prep Slide
Melody Prep Slide

Real music!
Lyrics Printable

Rhythm Printables

Melody Printables

Pease Porridge

I'm trying to get a little more cross-curricular.  I created these mini-lessons for kinder/first graders.  These activities range in time from 15 minutes to 30 minutes.

With the song, "Pease Porridge", I tried to incorporate everything I could think of - that way, my students and I get the best "bang for our buck" out of the song.  Here's the link to download it: Pease Porridge Mini-Lesson Bundle

The lessons progress like this:

Mini Lesson 1: Introduction to song, bar-graph activity, and rhyming activity

This slide gives the students some background about pease porridge.  Then, we discuss whether or not they'd like to try pease porridge.  This leads us to the bar graph activity.

Students who want to try pease porridge write their name on the full porridge bowl, while those who do not want to try the porridge write their name on the empty bowl.

The pictures are then glued on a long sheet of butcher paper divided in half.

Then, the students can count how many want to try the porridge, how many don't, and what the difference between them is.

Next, students learn the lyrics of the song.
They discuss the rhyming words.
They also discuss foods they like that are hot or cold.  I like to chat about, "How would pease porridge taste after nine days?"  Hahaha, the responses are so funny.

 Then, students play two short matching games in small groups (of four for me).  The students match the bottom bowl (-ot and -old) to the top porridge (beginning sounds).

The students then read the words they've created with their group and to me.

Tip: Store these materials in ziplock bags (quart size) then put all of them in a gallon size (gallon for -ot and gallon for -old).  Easy storage.

Mini Lesson 2: Rhythms (and adding instruments)

 Steady Beat Slide:
1.Read the definition of “steady beat”.  Compare to a heart beat.  The steady beat makes you want to tap your foot or clap along.  Adding a steady beat to the lyrics helps us turn them into a song.
2.Count the number of steady beats on this slide.
3.Have students count the beats while clapping or patting their legs while you say the words (may need to repeat this and add a drum on the beat to help students keep a steady tempo).  Then, switch, have students say the words while you count.
4.Have students say the words while keeping a steady beat.  Assign some students to point along to the words (great assessment for you) on the screen and some to play the drum on the steady beat (also great assessment for you and good practice for them).
(There is also a slide for the "some like it hot" part)
      Even younger students can get used to seeing and using musical symbols and structures.

Rhythm preparation slide

 Rhythm slide (with more ways to incorporate instruments)

Read the definition of rhythm (be sure to point to the quarter note when you say long, the eighth notes when you say short, and the rest when you say silences).  Repeat this definition.  Repeat again, having the students speak with you.
Have students chant the rhythms on syllables of your choice (I use “ta”, “titi” and “shh”).  Add this body percussion:
Quarter Note: clap
Quarter Rest: shrug
Eighth note pair: pat
Then, have students continue to use the body percussion while they say the correct lyrics.  Have them notice how their movements are matching the words.
Transfer the body percussion to playing rhythm sticks (or another unpitched instrument) while saying the words.  You could play a drum on the steady beat while they do this, then transfer to students (so some students are playing the rhythm while some are playing the steady beat – this can be difficult – so go slowly and model as needed).
Mini Lesson 3 - More advanced instrumentation and rhythm activity
Point out to the students how the song is comprised of two short thoughts (first four measures) and one long thought (last four measures) on both slides.  Label these musical thoughts as “phrases”.
Now, have students speak the poem while clapping on the rest.  Then, have them speak the poem while clapping on every rhythm but the rest.
Divide the class into two groups.  Give one group triangles and tambourines and one group wood blocks and drums.  Be sure to take the time to show the students how to use these instruments.  Describe the sounds and discuss differences between them.
Then, have students say the words while playing their instruments on the rests.  Then, have students say the words while playing every rhythm but the rest.
Assign wood blocks and drums to play on the quarter/eighth note rhythms and the tambourines and triangles to play on the rests.  Switch.  Have students discuss which grouping they like better.  Play this grouping while students think the words (audiate).
 Students track the bowls while saying the song.  Then, students fill in the bowls with the correct rhythms.  (For Kinder students, you may need to do this together - for 1st graders, they've got it)

Mini-Lesson 4: Adding the melody, adding melodic orff instruments, composition activity
Melodic Preparation Slide

Music Street slide for reviewing the relationship between Mi and So

 After learning the melody, students put an orffestration with the song by using the following slide ->

Each color (and the box) corresponds to a different orff instrument. 

  Students can then create their own porridge song.  (This can take a long time - so you might need to do it on a separate day).

Assessment: File Folder Games
As you know, I love file folder games.  I use them ALL the time.  Here's on you can use as an assessment:
Cut out these rhythm cards and store in a plastic bag stapled to the folder

Cut out these melody cards and store in a plastic bag stapled to the folder

  Students match the rhythms cards then the melody cards to the word.  You can ask them to perform for you to assess their progress.